Taking Time To Brush The Hero’s Teeth

Beautiful Woman Enjoys CoffeeOver the last year, I’ve read on Facebook and reviews for other authors’ books, readers complaining about the characters not taking baths, mowing the lawn, doing laundry, or needing to stop to pee. *snicker* They’re talking about the hero and heroine doing normal activities that a person will often do throughout the day.

I know sometimes I get so involved in writing the romance or the suspense, I forget to let my characters eat or sleep. So this is a valid concern.

Of course, the knee-jerk response is to say all of that will slow down the story.

In any book that is fast paced, high energy like most of mine, I have to remind myself to let the characters catch their breath, have a little down time. When I’m in edits, I try to make sure they get plenty of food and rest and try to think of other small daily functions I can mention.

Note that I said mention.

Don’t start explaining to the reader how she or he separated the colors from whites, folded the laundry, and placed them in the closet. Unless she’s a psycho serial killer and has a body in the closet and the laundry belongs to her victims, I rather not read about it.

If you want to show that moment of normalcy, you can have the hero changing the oil in his souped up classic Camaro and planning in his head the next raid against the bad guys. Maybe using a wrench to bang on the stuck oil pan in anger when he remembers what had gone wrong with the last mission. You get the idea. The everyday function is in the background. Kind of like, the characters are walking and thinking or talking. You don’t describe each step.

Well, like everything, unless he’s escaping from a killer and clinging to a ledge of a mountain. Then each step will count.

GOODNESS!  I can’t help it.  There is a good reason I write romantic suspense.

But it’s important to remember that whatever you place in that type of scene, you must have the plot moving forward, a tidbit of information the reader needs to put two and two together then or later. Or prepare the reader for what will come next. Along the way, this is a good time to show characterization.

Anyway, I believe you get the idea.  I’ll shut up now.

Thinking Ahead

Angry, Frustrated WomanThe other day I downloaded a book I was waiting for (read it in two days and it was regular size – a little under 400 pages I believe – it was wonderful – thank you, Cherise Sinclair) and while purchasing it, another book caught my eye and I bought it. (Addict, right?)

I have to say the other story was interesting but the number of errors were horrendous. They were simple mistakes that could easily been caught by a critique partner. Many times throughout the book (yes, I read the whole thing – see, I do try) the author placed a “was” and then a verb like: “He was stood and waved at the girl . . .”

To make matters worse, I had download three more books (thank goodness, two were free – feeding the addiction – HELP, NANCY!) from other new-to-me authors, and OMG! I can overlook a handful of errors, but they were riddled. The agony!!

Not saying that mistakes don’t happen in traditional published books (each one of mine had one or handful – sadly), but I seriously thought about asking for a refund on one of them it was so bad and I could tell this was a beginner-author, but decided to use it as a lesson.